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Activisim Events Latest

First Days of NYC BLM Protests Recap

ACTIVISM

First Days of BLM Protests in New York City

sidewalkkilla

On May 26, three days after George Floyd’s death by a cop’s knee, violent protests erupted in Minneapolis. In turn, on May 29, nonviolent protests in NYC organized at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn turned violent. Following the violence as well as looting that ensued on May 31, Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed NYC under curfew from June 1 to June 7.

Take a look at our exclusive photos from the first few days of the protests in NYC (violence warning.)

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Activisim Events Latest

The Stonewall Protests are Here to Abolish the System

ACTIVISM

The Stonewall Protests:

Liberation Extravaganza

On Thursday, September 24, 2020, a group of activists gathered at The Stonewall Inn to fight for all Black life, Breonna Taylor, and abolition of the system.

sidewalkkilla

Every Thursday, a group of activists, headlined by Joel Rivera and Qween Jean, gather at the iconic Stonewall Inn, part of a series of protests under the rubric The Stonewall Protests, organized by "Black Queer and Black Trans Activists centered on the Acknowledgment of All Black Life." On Thursday, September 24, just a day after Kentucky’s grand jury decision not to charge cops involved in Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting, The Stonewall Protests held a ballroom-themed protest called Liberation Extravaganza. 

Before taking to the streets, Qween Jean addressed the news about Breonna’s case,

“They [the grand jury] did not bring justice to Breyonna Taylor, her family, our family. There was no justice! And for that, we are gonna get justice today.”

Joel Rivera explained that the reason for the Liberation Extravaganza theme was the arrest of 86 peaceful protesters in Times Square on Saturday, September 19:

“We witnessed that protesters are not even allowed to step onto the streets without being arrested and so we said, no matter what happens on Thursday, we are going to look our best. And we are going to walk into a battle looking our best, because that is a legacy of Black queer and Black trans people, the Black queer and Black trans people that were here on the same street fighting for liberation, fighting for Black Lives Matter before the movement was founded. We call this The Stonewall Protests, because The Stonewall Inn forgot that history. But we are here to remind them of the legacy of The Stonewall riots. It's 2020, we are at The Stonewall Protests, fighting for the same thing our ancestors died for. So this is not a threat, it is a promise, if I am not allowed to march on this street today, there will be a Stonewall riot part two…”

The movement’s slogan is “Abolition is Liberation.” Joel explains,

“When we scream ‘No justice, no peace’ what do we mean? Because Breonna Taylor, the black life that really initiated the Black Lives Matter movement over this summer, got no justice. And I can’t sit here and say I’m surprised, because Black people do not get justice under this system. We can vote in November, but my problem will be the same in December. Because no matter who runs for office, no matter if you know who runs for office, no matter if you know that person is a great person, the system will destroy them. Because that's what the system was made for – to destroy Black people. We need to be in these streets chanting ‘Abolition Now,’ because that is the only way I will get true liberation, that is the only way we will all get true liberation. Tear down the system and forge a new one that is for all people, not just white men…”

Join Joel Rivera, Qween Jean, Iman Le Caire, Alana Jessica and many more every Thursday at The Stonewall Inn, to fight for all Black life and abolition of the system.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Activisim Events Latest

We Need to Talk About Belarus

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ACTIVISM

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Saturday, August 16, 2020. A few hundred people dressed in white and red colors assembled in front of the United Nations in New York City to show solidarity with Belarus in the light of currently unfolding events.

The long-term president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” has rigged the recent election results in his own favor. Two of the main opponents to his 26-year dictatorial reign were jailed before the elections, and one was refused registration as a candidate by the Belarusian electoral commission. Just when Lukashenko thought he had the election in his pocket due to the lack of opponents, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the wife of a jailed blogger who was a presidential ticket hopeful, entered the race, vowing to pick up where her husband left off. While the failing economy and the lackluster response to the coronavirus pandemic by the government left Belarusian citizens yearning for change, unlikely candidate Tsikhanouskaya found major support and was expected to win the elections.

Tens of thousands of peaceful protesters took to the streets of Belarus just to be met with the brutal force of Belarusian greatly feared OMON (Special Purpose Mobile Unit). Almost 7,000 people have been jailed, mercilessly beaten, and tortured while in custody, at least 50 of them journalists. Meanwhile, in New York, a few people showed up to the UN demonstrations covered in fake blood to shine the spotlight on the horrifying human rights violations transpiring in Belarus at the present moment. One of the protesters described in horror how a female acquaintance of his in Belarus was held in custody for six hours on her knees, head on the floor with her hands handcuffed behind her back. Arrested protesters in Belarus are not allowed medical care, water, food or toilet privileges.

Right after the elections, Tsikhaunouskaya fled to Lithuania, citing pressure from Lukashenko’s regime as the reason for the escape. Eight people from her staff have been arrested over the weekend.

It’s difficult not to draw parallels between the current situation in Belarus with the widespread US Black Lives Matter protests and Trump’s attempt to keep his seat by threatening to postpone November elections and sabotaging the US Postal Service. Malfeasance in office is more common than not, even in developed countries. But it’s much easier to get away with abuse of power among economies in transition and in developing parts of the world. Lukashenko’s presidency, which has been riddled with a history of falsified elections, is a prime example. Trump’s internet censorship order and Lukashenko’s attempt to stop dissidence by pulling the plug on internet and mobile services across Belarus are telling facts that the fast-paced spread of information through modern communication methods can be a tyrant’s Achilles heel.

I want Lukashenko gone. His time is up. 26 years is enough. That’s an entire generation. I was born, he was a president, he’s still a president. He lost the election, he has to go and he has to pay the price for the atrocities he’s been committing. The people around him, the secret service/police that have been committing crimes should also pay the price, there should be a fair trial and those people should be held responsible, that’s what we are looking for,” says Pavel, one of the attendees at the New York rally, who is originally from Minsk, Belarus’ capital.

Amongst the sea of posters at the New York protest near the UN, one sign stood out with an understatedly written hashtag. Leo, an ex-Chechen citizen living under US asylum, wrote a message on a white placard that read “No One is Free Until We Are All Free,” with the hashtag #lgbtchechnya written in smaller letters just under the main message. “We are all from Soviet Union,” Leo said, teary eyed, “And today we see how hard it is to get freedom for all of us, and that means we all need to support one another. We can’t face this alone. We understand the people of Belarus very well, because the same thing has been happening in Chechnya for many years.That’s why they need to be supported today.

A recently released HBO documentary, Welcome to Chechnya by Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker David France, reminds us why the Chechen’s genocide of its LGBT community should be one of the world’s most urgent conversations.

Politics all over the world is more connected than it might seem at first glance. Just because things like this are happening across the pond, doesn’t mean that they should be ignored and not talked about, because if we are silent about oppression of others we may be the next ones in line with no one to support our own claim.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Activisim Ballroom Events Latest

Ball to Action: Ballroom-Styled Direct Action Event for #OccupyCityHall

Ball to Action:

Ballroom-Styled

Direct Action Event

for #OccupyCityHall

BALLROOM/ACTIVISM

The “Ball to Action: Mandating Visibility for Queer & Black Trans Lives” event was a part of the 24-hour protest led by the Abolition Park organization on Tuesday, July 28, at Pier I. The “ballroom-styled” direct-action event  invited the House/Ballroom community and Kiki Scene to speak out against the police and state violence that took place at #OccupyCityHall on July 22. One of the Ball’s organizers, Jonathan Lykes Garcon, was also one of the people who launched the #OccupyCityHall movement that successfully achieved the demand of defunding the police by $1 billion.

During the Ball’s opening speech, Jonathan shared that on the morning of July 22 at 3:45 a.m., police raided #OccupyCityHall, kicking out the protesters and getting rid of ≈$20K of merchandise by throwing it into the trash. Amongst the things destroyed by the cops at #OccupyCityHall were tables that were serving free food 24 hours a day, a people’s library, and a bodega. 

“Ball to Action” was cut short by the police presence. A few attendees received phone calls warning them about the police blocking access to Pier I. Rumors of the NYPD’s plans to arrest everyone in attendance spread like wildfire and people left the event shortly after. One of the attendees asked a cop if they were really going to arrest everyone in attendance, to which the officer replied that after the pier’s closure at 1 a.m. people might get citations.

Two contestants from HBO’s Legendary TV show, Shy Ebony from the House of Ebony and Zay Lanvin from the season’s runner-up House of Lanvin, attended the Ball among many other participants.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Activisim Events Latest Pride

This Is The Future Queer Liberation Protesters Are Fighting For

ACTIVISM/PRIDE

NYC Queer Liberation March 2020

"It’s 2020, and we are still dealing with issues that we’ve been dealing with for hundreds of years. It’s ridiculous. This needs to end now."

sidewalkkilla

On June 28, instead of celebrating the annual Pride Parade in the usual way – with barricaded streets, company-sponsored floats, and police convoys – the people of New York took to the streets to protest police brutality and walk for Black and Black Trans Lives.

Sidewalkkilla was commissioned by BuzzFeed LGBTQ to interview NYC's Queer Liberation March protesters on their hopes for the future. Find out what brings people out on the streets day after day.

Special thanks to Angel OrtÍz-Perreira for assisting with the project.

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Katie Rose Summerfield

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Bones Jones

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Daniel Nieto

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Rollerena

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J. Alexander

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Gabriella Rosa Morales

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Ty Sunderland

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Glow Job

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Terence, Samy, Luis

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Iman Le Caire

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Cory Walker

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Justin, Onika, Emilie, Spencer, Luke, Jordan

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Angel Ortíz-Perreira

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Jonas Bardin

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Andy Jean

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Steven the Neptunite

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Sugar B.

& Jen Cinclair

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Madelyn Keith &

Graham D'Craquer

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Xander Gaines

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Joel Riviera

@ohmykatierose

Katie Rose Summerfield

What brings you out here today?

I am an artist and a human in the world who cares about the humanity of all people. I think it’s essential that we show up for our brothers and sisters who have not been treated with any fairness, kindness, justice, or humanity for hundreds of years. And it’s time that we all be accomplices in the fight for abolition of white supremacy, racism, the police brutality and inequality across everything.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hopes for the future are that everybody in the world, everybody in America, feels safe to live in the body as they are, to be exactly who they are, to be loved tirelessly and fearlessly, and for everyone to feel safe.

@xo.bones

Bones Jones

What brings you out here today?

I am here today at the Queer Liberation March to liberate humanity, honestly. People of the LGBTQIA+ community are the backbone of how culture moves in this country. So I am here to support humanity in this outfit, have a good time, and support those who need support.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is that all people have the same rights, the same opportunities, the same abilities. We’ve seen what happens year after year after year when it comes to these things. It gets us nowhere to just oppress one group of people, so my hope and my wish is that we all just get the equal rights, equal opportunities, and just live in peace. Celebrate in peace, love in peace, have sex in peace.

@daboy13

Daniel Nieto

What brings you out here today?

I am here to fight for freedom, equalities for everybody. Black lives matter, trans lives matter, gay lives matter.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is for everyone to be treated equally, with respect, and to have equal freedom and opportunities in this country and everywhere else in the world.

Rollerena

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is the blue wave on election day, that everybody gets out there and votes. Votes with their conscience and gets this horrible regime out of office.

@daddyl0nglegs

J. Alexander (right)

What brings you out here today?

I’m here for Pride, I’m here for Black liberation. I’m here to take a stand with all the people that are here today.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope is that when these people go home, they actually do work, and they educate themselves about decolonizing the mind; they have the hard conversation with their racist aunts. I hope that they speak up for people of color — especially Black people — in these safe white spaces. I hope that the work goes beyond the streets and that we see actual change.

Gabriella Rosa Morales

What brings you out here today?

I’m an Afro Latina, bisexual woman, and I’m tired of the bullshit that’s going on. Honestly, it’s time for change and this is what needs to be happening and nobody is listening to us, so we are going to make them listen. So we are going to keep fighting every day until they listen to us, until we get what we need.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is that they defund the police, that they treat every citizen the way they need to be treated and that fucking capitalism changes. White supremacy needs to be out of this country. It’s 2020, and we are still dealing with issues that we’ve been dealing with for hundreds of years. It’s ridiculous. This needs to end now.

@ageofaquaria @theejessa @jimmypezzino @tysunderland

Ty Sunderland (right)

& friends

What brings you out here today?

We are marching here for our liberation. We are not free until our entire community is free. Right now we have to be out here marching for Black lives and Black trans lives.

What are your hopes for the future?

A future where we are all free, we are all safe, where we all have equal opportunity, equal rights, and equal access to resources.

@queenglowjob

Glow Job

What brings you out here today?

I am here today, because it’s the Queer Liberation March; it is Pride.

We need to show up; we need to show out. We need to be here for Black lives, for Black trans lives. This feels like, what I imagine maybe, the first Pride was like. It was a freaking protest; it was a riot. And so we are here to make a difference.

What are your hopes for the future?

I feel like things are actually changing for once. I think people are stopping to think… I think they have been disrupted from the system. I want the police to be defunded. I want Black trans people to be respected. I want joy to come back to everyone’s life. That’s why we're here doing this.

@nysocialbee @sameforbrooklyn @hernameisluis

Terence, Samy

& Luis

What brings you out here today?

Terence: What brought me here today was trans rights, Black Lives Matter. An equality for all of us — we are marching together to be with all my sisters and brothers and nonbinary folks.

Luis: I am here with my friends and my community. This is our family. Until all of us are liberated, every single person in our community is liberated — trans, Black, queer, nonbinary, Latino people — the queer community will not stop until all of us are fully equal.

Samy: I'm here because this is the real Pride. It started 51 years ago with Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson — a riot against police brutality — and we are still criminalized and oppressed by the state and the police forces. So we need to continue organizing, running for office, voting, and getting engaged with our community to actually fight for change, including social justice and a [city] budget that really helps our community. So we are honoring that life and that spirit of resistance. This is what this march is — to bring that rioting spirit to actually fight for equal justice.

Terence: And the rights for sex workers, which we can’t forget, because the root people that led the riots and the march were Black and trans sex workers.

What are your hopes for the future?

Samy: Well, I really hope that we don’t have to fight against the state and discrimination, that we live in the society that honestly honors our lives, that we have full respect and we have full equality and justice. And that starts with the Equality Act, but we need so much more.

Legal marriage equality [happened], but that just got us the right to love. Now we need the right so we can walk in the streets without violence and being murdered, so the moment that no Black trans women are being killed in the streets, when people are not discriminated at work, when all the eradication of discrimination happens. That’s why we are truly here; that’s why we are marching. We are not only celebrating that we could march because of the history of our movement, but because there is so much work to be done.

Luis: And of course we hope that the city council of New York defunds the NYPD, defunds the military state in our city and starts funding the real needs of our communities, starts funding education, starts funding housing, starts funding healthcare for people in our community. Because that's where we really want our tax dollars to be devoted to and not to police violence, not to state violence. I really hope that our state officials, our city and our local elected officials react and respond to the clamor that we are all expressing today.

Terence: My hope for the future is that I won’t have to be out on the streets saying "Trans Lives Matter"; I won’t have to be out on the streets saying "Black Lives Matter"; I won’t have to be on the streets saying "Black Trans Lives Matter." It’s beautiful that we are saying those, but the reason that we are out here saying those is because we are continuously killed and there is no justice and we have to keep fighting and protesting. I’m hoping for the future that we no longer have to be out on the streets fighting against the state and state will side with us, and they will give us protection. So that Black trans girls will have protection, Black people will have protection, we want to fight against people that are killing us.

Samy: This is just the city’s Pride as Black Lives Matter rally, because the most important, impacted members of our LGBTQ community are the LGBTQ people of color: Black trans women, Latinx, undocumented queer immigrants. And it is a movement of solidarity. Fighting for racial justice is to fight for queer rights; fighting for queer rights is fighting for racial justice. So we are not only standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, we also have Black queer lives, we also have immigrant Latinx queer lives and people of color. So this is a movement of solidarity, but we are both because our struggles are very interconnected. That’s why this Pride, this Queer March is so powerful, because it combines the intersectional lives and identities that we all live and they have been oppressed for so long and this is the moment for liberation.

Luis: And at the end, us browns and Black people, we are also protesting against the mainstream LGBTQ community who has for so long discriminated against us, discriminated against our most vulnerable members. And we are saying today: This is the Pride that we want; this is the Pride that we celebrate and nothing from now on in the future will be less.

Terence: No more.

@imanlecaire

Iman Le Caire

What brings you out here today?

My hope for the future for the Black trans sisters and Black trans brothers, for all brown people and refugees to have jobs and to be walking the streets without getting hurt and killed. I’m tired of it. I’ve been harassed since being 8 years old and I’m sick of it.

What are your hopes for the future?

So I just want to be safe and have opportunities like everybody else. Is that too much to ask? No I don’t think so, so I hope for the future and especially for trans youth to have a better future than I ever had. Hopefully that’s going to happen. I feel optimistic for the future, especially now that we all came together. Hopefully something is going to happen.

And I feel Trump is going to go away.

@corywalkers

Cory Walker

What brings you out here today?

I am out here celebrating Black and brown trans lives and just witnessing a revolution.

It’s been a beautiful way to emerge back into the new world and to be in New York City is such a blessing. Because this is kind of where that kind of liberation began: going to Stonewall and just feeling that energy. I feel like the ancestors are really here. I’m taking it moment by moment; it’s really a lot to digest, but it’s everything we’ve been asking for, so. I think this is our time.

What are your hopes for the future?

Oh, so many. I would say for everyone, every being who enters this plane, this earth, this physical experience, to know that there is so much worthiness and rightness in their existence.

I would love for kids to be born knowing that there is a reason that they are here and that they have the power, that their evolution and their natural flow is going to look so specific for them and that’s beautiful. And I want the people who maybe didn’t have that, who are kind of learning that about themselves now, I want them to heal and be graceful knowing that they always did and survived the best way they knew how.

And for people to just have more empathy and compassion and to really see each other again more, maybe for the first time. We are all kind of seeing ourselves for the first time. I think we are all being initiated into ourselves. So, my hope for the future, my hope for now really, just to continue celebration.

@justinbshow @onikathatbitch @emkouatch @spencer_larue

@luke.mcdonough @jordnalexander

Justin, Onika, Emilie, Spencer, Luke, Jordan

Please, introduce yourself and tell us what brings you out here today.

All: I’m Justin. I’m Emilie. I’m Spencer. I’m Luke. Jordan. Onika.

Justin: Celebrating our Pride, celebrating identities and Black trans lives.

Spencer: Our identities, our brothers, our sisters, everybody in between who just wants to be themselves.

Justin: It’s been really cool. These last few weeks people have been really showing up for each other in a beautiful way, and I feel like I am responsible to be a part of that.

Jordan: Also standing up against police brutality that’s been going on in this country since literally we began and just saying enough is enough. We are done. It needs to be scrapped, and we need to rebuild.

Spencer: As much as COVID sucks, I feel like it’s been a wake-up call that America needs to motivate and take action against police brutality and everything that’s been happening negatively toward our country to move forward.

What are your hopes for the future?

Justin: That we can all just fucking love each other.

Jordan: Yeah, and be able to live without being afraid of literally being killed.

Spencer: Love each other.

Emilie: Respect each other too.

Spencer: Respect each other in a world that’s built out of love, respect and compassion, and not negativity.

@angel_ortizp

Angel Ortíz-Perreira

What brings you out here today?

I am out here today for Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is for us to understand one another even whether we don’t agree with one another or not. I think finding that common ground of understanding and having those dialogues — that’s the future that we get to have. It really feels like there is an awakening happening in New York, in the world, in every major city. And it’s lovely to be out, even though today is limited in scope.

@jonasbardin

Jonas Bardin

What brings you out here today?

I am here today in support of, particularly, Black trans community as they continue to be marginalized and oppressed throughout this country. And I am here to also remind fellow white people, that this is the work that we need to be focusing on specifically in this moment.

And when we think of Pride, we need to be focalizing Black trans women specifically in our politics and in our minds when we are protesting moving forward.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hopes for the future are dismantling white supremacy and ending capitalism in this country. My hopes are that right now people can find a moment of peace and joy with their friends, maybe even just alone if they are alone today.

These are tumultuous times, but change is never something that is slow and that feels comfortable, so I take it as a good sign.

@qween_jean

Andy Jean (left)

What brings you out here today?

I am here today for Black trans liberation, not only today, but each and every day. Moving forward, so that these folks, honey, [cops] are fucking abolished. Thank you. That’s why I'm here.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is that no more Black and brown trans people have to be subjected to violence, that they have to be killed and that they could actually be free, fully, beautifully. That is my dream.

@neptunitesflux

Steven

the Neptunite

What brings you out here today?

I am here in celebration of not only Pride, but I’m also here for Black Lives Matter, because we celebrate Pride, but too often so many people get left out of this movement.

I believe that by combining BLM with LGBTQ+ Pride we can actually bend together and learn intersectionality and learn that we have a common oppressor. This builds a lot of strength to see people of color and queer people of color here as well as white people.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is that we get to dress and look however we want and identify however we want and not have to deal with the threatening looks, not have to deal with the shit talk, not have to deal with the potential violence threats and the death threats. That is my hope for the future.

And my hope for the future is also, for us queer people of color to work within ourselves as well, because there is a lot of self-hate among our community; it’s not just our common oppressor. It’s gotten to the point where we teach this shit to ourselves and we need to fix that.

One of my hopes for the future is for us to stand in harmony and as one, like we should have a long time ago.

@sugarb_icny @jencinclair

Sugar B.

& Jen Cinclair

What brings you out here today?

Jen: I am here with one of my besties whom I met at the Imperial Court of New York. She happens to be the first Black biological woman empress of the Imperial Court of New York. She’s fucking amazing, and we marched with our court friends today.

Sugar: I am, like Jen said, one of the first biological women of color, for a cis woman to reign with the Imperial Court of New York. We are a fundraising organization that mostly comprised drag queens, drag kings. We cater to the LGBTQ+ community. We raise money for a lot of organizations. My emperor was actually working at Stonewall when the riots happened. So we are considered the Stonewall monarchs of the Imperial Court of New York.

What are your hopes for the future?

Jen: No regressions. At least keep the rights that we have right now and move forward. No regressions at least step 1, and steps 2 through 50…so many fucking things.

Sugar: I have a basic theory: If you take care of yourself, in turn you take care of other people. Wear your masks; stay inside; don’t believe that you are better than anyone; don’t believe that you are not immune to what's going on. There is a lot of people out here today, but you cannot cancel Pride. Pride is something that we do. But in the same spirit, stay safe. And if you can and when you can stay home… And I hope to hug someone very shortly. Oh my god I miss it. I miss hugging and kissing and loving people — it’s the most amazing thing.

Graham D'Craquer

& Madelyn Keith

What brings you out here today?

Madelyn: My name is Madelyn Keith. I am empress 34 of the Imperial Court of New York.

Graham: And I am Graham D’Craquer, and I am member 29 of the Imperial Court of New York. And we are husbands in real life. So the Imperial Court of New York is a 501c3 charity organization that raises money for LGBTQ+ organizations, and we do it through events. And we figured since there is no Pride parade today, we’d just walk around, spread a little joy, spread a little cheer.

Madelyn: Imperial Court is 35 years old, and we are the producers of Night of the 1000 Gowns, which takes place in the spring. This year, our coronation was canceled due to the coronavirus, but we wanted to come out; we wanted to say hello; we wanted to show people we are here, we are proud, and that we love everybody.

Graham: Absolutely.

What are your hopes for the future?

Madelyn: First, I’d love to see everybody get through this, so we could get back to doing what we do: fundraising and charity, visiting people in hospice, and just bringing a little light to people.

Xander Gaines

What brings you out here today?

It’s Pride. It’s New York. I wanna see my family, my friends, my sisters, and although I can’t be with them the way I normally am, I could be among them so I’m out.

What are your hopes for the future?

A future. That’s my hope. Just having a future.

@joelriveraaa

Joel Rivera

What brings you out here today?

I'm 19 now, and I still got a high school education. I'm in college right now, and I've been an active member of the Black Lives movement since the day I was born and now I'm here.

I do a protest at Stonewall every Thursday. [And] now what I'm currently doing is stopping traffic, because I know when the Pride parades that are led by white people, when they organize they stop the streets. But when it's for Black people, they let the traffic go. They try to dismantle us. So that’s why I’m here; it only takes one person.

I feel like the people here — they don’t want to join in, that’s fine. A lot of people are pussies, I can’t help that. So I’m here just doing that, doing my part, causing chaos, because like I said, I'm not peaceful; I’m not violent. I say I'm not peaceful, because I am here to cause noise, to cause chaos. I'm here to wake people up.

But I'm not violent, because the police are violent. People that hate in their hearts are violent. I don’t have hate in my heart, so I'm not violent.

What are your hopes for the future?

I guess it's kind of cliché: I hope for equality. I hope that if I was to go on a train just like this, I wouldn't face any harassment. I hope that there is a new system that doesn’t see the color of your skin but sees the content of your character. That's what Martin Luther King said.

I hope that every single person in the world, now that’s crazy, but I hope that every single person in the world finds love in their heart. If you have love, it doesn't matter your sexuality, your gender identity, your skin color, because you will just love everybody. And honestly, I take it back when I said it was a stretch. It should not be a stretch to be able to love everyone, but some people just make it so difficult.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Activisim Bushwig Events Latest Pride

Bushwig Celebrates Pride & Rides In Solidarity With BLM

Bushwig Pride x BLM

PRIDE/ACTIVISM

The only acceptable way of celebrating Pride in 2020 is if you are doing it in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Bushwig drag festival organizers did just that on Friday, June 26. The event started off with a three-mile bike ride from Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick and ended at McCarren Park in Williamsburg. In Buswhig’s style, attendees were encouraged to wear wigs. Drag performer Merrie Cherry led the horde of colorful bikers in a red convertible. A few hundred people ended up gathering on the lawns of McCarren Park, listening to the evening’s speakers, watching performances by The Dragon Sisters, Magenta, Jette Grey, C’etait BonTemps, and more. The donations provided during the event were to be split between the performers and a grassroots non-profit organization, G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society), that houses homeless black trans people. Amongst the highlights of the evening was the event’s speaker and performer Jette Grey, a black trans sex worker, asking people to donate money to her Venmo account, so that she could help other trans people in need. In just a couple of hours she announced that she has collected over $7,000, with the donations going over $10K by the next day. The event finished off with a fiery speech by Samuel Nemir Olivares – a progressive Latinx, queer state committee candidate – and a dance party that was eventually ended by police intervention.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Activisim Editorial Events Latest

15K People Show Up For Black Trans Lives At Brooklyn Liberation March

ACTIVISM

Brooklyn Liberation

An Action For Black Trans Lives

sidewalkkilla

Around 15K people wearing all white showed up to Brooklyn Liberation March for

Black Trans Lives.

On June 14, 2020, around 15,000 people wearing all white showed up for the Brooklyn Liberation Action in support of Black Trans Lives. Brooklyn-based drag artist West Dakota drew inspiration from the 1917 Silent Protest Parade organized by the NAACP that was held in response to an attack on the black community in East St. Louis. Fran Tirado, Eliel Cruz, Dix Peyton, Raquel Willis, and organizations like G.L.I.T.S., The Okra Project, For The Gworls, Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and the Emergency Release Fund joined the movement.

Raquel Willis, Junior Mintt and West Dakota

Ceyenne Doroshow

The rally's hosts Junior Mintt and Joshua Obawole asked Black trans people to move up to the very front of the crowd. Heartfelt speeches by Ianne Fields Stewart, Ceyenne Doroshow, Raquel Willis, and the family of Layleen Polanco followed next. Doroshov, an author, activist, and the founder of G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) has been housing 5 Black trans people recently released from Rikers Island. During her passionate speech on top of the Brooklyn Museum, Doroshov broke down in tears, sharing that almost $1 million has been raised in order for her organization to be able to buy two buildings in NYC to house Black trans people:

“We have always been last, that’s not gonna happen anymore. We’re first… We have never had equity in the city of New York. Motherfuckers, we do now.”

By the time the Brooklyn Liberation March of over 15K people has reached its final destination at Fort Greene Park, Doroshov announced that someone had just contributed $9,000, pushing the donations to the $1 million goal. But the fundraiser doesn’t stop there.

“Ceyenne has BIG plans, if we can keep the momentum going we’ll be able to impact the landscape of sustainable housing for Black trans people for decades to come,”

states G.L.I.T.S.’ e-mail campaign. If you would like to donate, head over to the G.L.I.T.S. donation page.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Queer Juneteenth Jubilee in Harlem

Juneteenth Jubilee

ACTIVISM

Harlem, NYC

“Juneteenth Jubilee” in Harlem was organized by Marti G Cummings, Jaime Cepera, Phillip Henry, Condola Rashad, Shakina, Destinee Rea and black led organizations The Blacksmiths, WideAwakes and Intersectional Voices Collective. The event’s goal was to celebrate Black Lives through Joy- a celebration in the form of protest.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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Opinion: What Is Your Responsibility When Representing Your Community?

EVENTS | ACTIVISM


Opinion: What Is Your Responsibility When Representing Your Community?

A non-binary drag fixture in the Brooklyn queer community, Thee Suburbia, held a fundraiser for the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), a nonprofit organization based out of Washington, DC, and helmed by black trans activist Dr. Lourdes Ashley Hunter. What was meant to be a supportive and uplifting event took a sudden turn due to unexpected hostility and verbal abuse directed towards the attendees by Dr. Hunter throughout most of the night. 

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Thee Suburbia living for one of the performers

The fundraiser’s lineup included over 30 performers, most of whom were trans women of color. Thee Suburbia had the idea of starting The PoC Drag Art Collective for a while, and it took  physical shape in Suburbia’s home, during Thanksgiving dinner, when she invited fellow queer creatives and announced her intention of holding the first PoC Drag Art Collective. “She just kind of posted up a sign-up sheet and told us to sign our names if we wanted to perform,” one of the night's performers J Rosa reminisced about that evening. 

Before we even figured out who we wanted to give money to, we were already creating awareness to support trans women of color, hence why the event’s lineup was mostly comprised of trans women,” Thee Suburbia stated in explaining the importance of creating this project. “We wanted to show how much we cared about people who might need more help; we also wanted people to experience the connection we are creating for each other.”

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The event was held at a DIY space called Hartstop, located in the Bed-Stuy (short for Bedford-Stuyvesant) neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Brooklyn queer community is not new in creating DIY spaces to hold events – those are the spaces where everyone feels the safest, it seems: the Casa Diva party that used to be held at Charlene Incarnate’s industrial loft has achieved almost legendary status, while the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards 2019 winner for “Best Party,” Oops!, takes over The Rosemont bar every Wednesday to do whatever the creators Juku, West Dakota, and Magenta desire. 

Thee Suburbia reached out a week prior to the event, asking me to attend her first fundraiser she worked so hard to arrange. It took me over an hour to get to Bed-Stuy from Harlem, but I didn’t dare miss an event with such an amazing lineup that also was supporting a good cause. The performances were scheduled to start at 6 pm and go on until 12 am. 

I was about an hour late, but I got there just in time to catch a few performers from the earlier lineup. Dr. Lourdes Ashley Hunter showed up just a few moments after me, wearing a yellow African print dress. Soon after that, Suburbia invited Dr. Hunter to the microphone to introduce herself. Dr. Hunter started off her speech by advertising a book that was made for her by “a white woman” who wanted all of the proceeds from the book’s sales to benefit the TWOCC. “I got books for sale and I am not taking any of them home with me, so all of you hoes will purchase a book tonight…” Dr. Hunter proclaimed to the crowd’s cheers and laughter. She wrapped up her speech by noting that a black trans woman was murdered in DC “three days ago,” and that on the way to New York she learned that another trans woman had been murdered two days ago “three miles away from here.” “And it’s a bit much,” she continued, “so we are here to celebrate black trans women.”

During the first break between the performances, I wandered over to the side of the room where Dr. Hunter had set up a poster with photos and a quote that read, “I don’t want to be visible because I am trans. I want to be seen, affirmed and celebrated as a whole damn person… I want to wake up without a threat of violence! I want to fall in love, raise a family and pass down traditions my grandma and mom passed to me. I want to thrive without fear! I don’t want to have to tell you all about my pain for you to then journey towards an understanding that trans folk deserve to breathe, to live and thrive in a world that celebrates all of who we are… Humans.”

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Dr. Lourdes Ashley Hunter

Moved by the inspiring quote, I turned around to find Dr. Hunter standing right in front of me. “Are you buying the book?” she inquired, to which I replied: “Sure, but I will get it a little bit later.” 

Dr. Hunter looked me dead in the eye and said, “So you are not buying the book?

I will, but I wanted to ask you a couple of questions first about the work that you do.” I perceived an immediate shift in her attitude the moment I said I wasn’t going to buy the book on the spot.

Why are you asking me this, do you wanna date me?” – which she didn’t say in a funny way; it felt like I had asked someone a question that I had no business asking. 

No… I just wanted to find out a bit more about your work,” I proceeded cautiously. 

She made a frustrated puffing sound, simultaneously flipping up her hair and pointing both of her upper extremities to the poster behind me: “Well, go to my website and you can read what you need to know there.”

I prefer to hear it directly from the source…,” I continued, even though I could feel the ground was getting shaky.

Well then, you should have already known what this event was about before coming here, this event is for me!” she said, starting to lose her cool. 

I made a mental check that she emphasized that the event was for her and not for her non-profit, but I went on: “Well, I am writing an article about this, so I thought…” 

I don’t give a fuck what you do! This event is about raising money! I don’t have time to explain! Black trans women are dying! We don’t have time to explain shit!” – she went berzerk.

I started shaking. This was so unexpected and the exchange was making me feel uneasy and unwelcome, all at once.

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Junior Mintt

I withdrew myself from the argument and stood to the side. One of the performers of the night, Junior Mintt, a Black trans woman known for her funny yet politically charged performances, approached Dr. Hunter at that moment to chat, only to be met with: “Tell him sis! We ain’t got time to explain shit! Black trans women are dying!” At that moment I just got really pissed off and couldn’t stay quiet. I turned to Dr. Hunter and asked her if she really thought it was wise to shut someone down when they come to her with a question about her cause, to which she became even more unravelled, screaming: “You are a cis gay man! Don’t start with me! I’m a Black trans woman!

With that statement I felt like she had just invalidated my entire existence. It made me feel small and unimportant, almost like an outsider that dared to invade a space that wasn’t built for me. At that moment I was ready to leave. I had gone to the event with the aim of uplifting the work that Suburbia and TWOCC were doing together. What was I supposed to write about the event now?

I went up to the rooftop to catch some fresh air. Thee Suburbia was standing there talking to a couple of other performers. She turned to me and asked me how I was doing. I told her what had just transpired. She showed instant concern and a flicker of a shadow appeared on her face. “I’m so sorry that happened,” she said. “It’s not your fault, maybe she is just drunk,” I responded.

After staying up on the roof for a bit, I decided to stay for the rest of the talent that was slated to perform later in the evening.

Zenobia, Charlene, Islaya, MTHR TRSA, Dai Burger

Throughout the night, over 30 queer PoC performers have taken the stage: Jayse Vegas, Dezi5, Showdolliana, Junior Mint, Robert Garcia, Xtain, La Candelaria, J Rosa, John Mateo, Zenobia, Charlene, IslayaMTHR TRSA, Senerio, Foxy Belle Afriq, Sir Charles, Juniper Juicy, Kenzi Coulee, Denime The Queen, Xunami Muse, Paris L'Hommie, Caribu Vague, DJ Hard Candy, Thee Suburba herself, Dancer On Probation, Tina Twirler, Glow Job, Onyma, Skittlez, J'Royce Jata, Dévo Monique, Jypsy Jeyfree, Marcel, B Hawk Snipes, Mojo Disco, and the headliner of the night Dai Burger.

Even though Dr. Hunter was living for everyone's performances, she kept on sprinkling the crowd with violent verbal outbursts. At one point she snatched the mic from MTHR TRSA, the second host of the night, and asked for a chair. When the person manning the mix board moved a stool towards her, she commanded: “Bring its height up, white person!” The audience responded with uncomfortable laughter. At another point of the night, she snatched the mic from MTHR TRSA again while she was in the middle of introducing the next performer, responding to the host’s polite protest: “I don’t give a fuck about the next performance! Listen to me!

Several times throughout the night she grabbed the tip bucket and ran around the room demanding that people put money into it: “I know you got coins, cuz I see you buying drinks at the bar!,” “Come on you white motherfuckers, I know you got money!,” “If you are not donating money, then why the fuck are you here!?” The barrage of verbal abuse towards the crowd went on incessantly. Right before Charlene was about to perform, Dr. Hunter misgendered her: “You are a white cis woman, what are you doing here?” By this point, no one was trying to cover up the uncomfortable situation with laughter any more, and many people were leaving. Finally, during one of Dr. Hunter’s attempts to extort the crowd, in a sign of defeat she rested her elbow on MTHR TRSA’s shoulder and pronounced: “You know what, I don’t need this.”

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Eventually Suburbia came up to me and told me that she and a group of other people staged an intervention and asked Dr. Hunter to leave. The atmosphere significantly lightened up after that, and the people who showed up after this point were clueless about the night’s earlier episode.

Suburbia said: ”We just told her that this is the party we are putting together, we don’t know how many people were going to come or what it was going to look like, we just knew that we wanted to give her something and quickly it turned into her saying that we agreed to pay her.” I asked why the PoC Drag Art Collective chose this specific organization as a beneficiary. “I looked her up,” Suburbia responded, “I read about things she was doing, I read a lot about her collective. That night, a lot of people came because of her workshops. It really looked great on paper. In the beginning a part of me wanted to give to the Ali Forney Center, The Trevor Project, Audre Lorde, something like that, but I wanted to do something for someone that’s smaller, someone who could actually appreciate that we do something for them.”

It didn’t feel like Dr. Hunter was appreciative of anything. She treated the entire event with a palpable sense of entitlement, like everyone in attendance owed her something and was supposed to shower her with money at the ready. For her, if you were not a trans woman of color, you didn’t exist.

The insensitive and hurtful approach exhibited by Dr. Lourdes Hunter, regarded as a representative of Black trans women, raises many questions and concerns. Should we be more mindful of people that we invite into the safety of our communities? Should people that represent a certain group be accountable for their actions? Just because someone is passionate about an issue, does that mean they are properly equipped with the right tools to represent their community?

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Glow Job

As one of the night’s performers Glow Job perfectly summed it up: “I was giving Suburbia a pep talk upstairs cause she was pretty devastated. But we all still showed up, and we were all there because we wanted to be a part of this and do some good, so that when we do it again and then again, it’ll get bigger and better and we’ll look back on this first one that started it all, and reflect on its craziness. It’s epicness in a way. There is an opportunity to grow and to come together stronger as a group that really drives that conversation even within the community. There was a lot of energy, attention, and time that people put into this night, and I personally hope it could keep going and should only be bigger and better from this point on. If anything, there is more drive to protect this group and make it something worth fighting for for next time.

It’s almost impossible not to compare the two completely opposite approaches taken by Dr. Hunter and by Thee Suburbia. At the end of the day, we have to be accountable for our actions when we take on the responsibility of representing a group or a community, and we must make sure that our approach doesn’t hurt the message. The wrong delivery can push people further away or tune them off completely, even possibly perpetuating stigmas about your community.

No one wants to be belittled or made to feel bad based on ignorant assumptions that you’ve had it so much better based on your race, sexual preference, experience, or gender. Love, kindness, openness, and willingness to educate will always be the only right approach to getting your message across and drawing people in to care about it. Thee Suburbia exhibited all these qualities masterfully, and I cannot wait for the next PoC Drag Art Collective gathering and to support her in her incredible work. 

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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How I lost My Activism Virginity And Why You Should Too

EVENTS | ACTIVISM

Climate Strike,

Sunset Park, Brooklyn

On September 27, 2019, a climate justice organization "Uprose" marched on Industry City, a creative waterfront business hub, blamed for the neighborhood's fast-paced gentrification.

sidewalkkilla

During September’s “Global Week for Future,” over 6 million people all over the world took to the streets demanding their governments take action to address climate change. A series of passionate speeches by climate strike youth leader Greta Thunberg were a catalyst to last week’s series of global protests. The first youth-led wave of climate strikes on September 20, ahead of the UN’s Climate Action Summit on September 23, amassed over 2 million marchers. The US, the second-biggest polluter in the world, left the Paris Agreement in 2017; that agreement tasked world leaders to limit their countries’ greenhouse gas emissions to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels , according to Vox.

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I missed the first Friday for Future climate strike on September 20, so I had to make sure to attend a strike the following Friday. I was interested in finding a small march that would be held in a New York neighborhood that I’d never visited before. Thanks to my old friend Google I found a strike that was going to take place in Sunset Park, a waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn.

I got to Sunset Park a couple of hours before sunset, and the first thing I saw was about a hundred people peacefully sitting on a grassy slope, listening to speeches by different activists. Several people gathered behind benches where speakers were standing up and holding self-made protest signs and posters.

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A guy standing just a hundred feet to my left quickly caught my attention. He was wearing a crop top and peach velvet pants. It’s fairly easy to spot your own kind, I thought, and as if he read my mind, within two minutes he was standing right beside me offering an activist newspaper. “Come to our meetings, it’s every Wednesday. Just a bunch of queerdos getting together and talking about issues like police brutality, then going in the streets and getting arrested for it.”

He handed me a flyer targeting the MTA – their group’s new campaign. The flyer stated that “The MTA just added 500 cops to stop ‘farebeaters’ and is planning to lay off 2,700 MTA workers.” The MTA is claiming that it’s losing $260 million due to people skipping the fare, “but yet they have enough finances to hire cops.

Many speakers spoke next, from a Black Lives Matter movement founder, to three speakers from the International Indigenous Youth Council. The speakers brought up many issues: illegal cattle ranching in Nicaragua, DeBlasio’s plan to build four new jails in order to close the Rikers Island prison complex, ICE targeting Greyhound buses, and so on. But the main focus of the protest organized by “Uprose” – a leading advocate for climate justice – was to fight gentrification and rezoning in the neighborhood.

We then left the park with half a dozen activists carrying several pieces of cardboard that spelled “Climate Justice” as we marched towards Industry City. The predominantly Asian and Latino neighborhood of Sunset Park is afraid that the rezoning of one of the last industrial waterfronts will “push many longtime businesses and residents out,” News 12 Brooklyn reports.

Several speakers took to the microphone to express their frustrations about Industry City, whose owners, they argued, are responsible for the displacement of the local community. In the middle of the protest, Industry City turned on loud music inside its courtyard to drown out the crowd. The executive director of “Uprose,” and a national leader in the climate justice movement, Elizabeth Yeampierre, joked that “They are dancing to displacement.

Towards the end of the rally, a cop car pulled in, eventually accompanying the marchers on their way back and herding everyone onto the sidewalk. The cops flashed their lights and asked protesters not to spill out onto the road so as to avoid blocking traffic.

I’ve never attended a protest before, and my initial aim was to simply observe, as I never knew how I could personally contribute to any cause. When we got closer to Industry City, one of the marchers asked me if I wanted a sign, and I found myself saying “yes.”

It’s very easy to go through life with your eyes closed, letting someone else make decisions on your behalf – for example, putting our trust in politicians and public figures that we assume will have our best interests. However, when we see that the issues that we care about are not being prioritized on a legislative level, it’s time to take action. It’s obvious that greed and money are taking precedence over vitally important issues like climate change, or basic human rights.

It’s difficult to ignore the fact that climate change is something that will unquestionably affect all of us personally at some point. During that climate strike at Sunset Park, I realized that the first step towards change is knowledge. Go to more local meetings, and educate yourself on present issues as this may be just the right start towards real change.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

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